Rules panel approves restricted-area arc for Div. I;Divisions II and III get one-year delay; women’s three-point line also moved

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel during its conference call on Monday approved adding a visible restricted-area arc three feet from the center of the basket where a secondary defender cannot legally take a charge in Division I men’s and women’s games.

The panel delayed implementation of the arc until the 2012-13 season for Divisions II and III to allow those schools time to plan and place the restricted-area arc in their home arenas. For the upcoming season, secondary defenders in Divisions II and III men’s games will not be allowed to draw a charge in an unmarked area directly beneath the basket, which was the men’s rule in 2010-11. In Divisions II and III women’s games, secondary defenders will not be allowed to draw a charge in an unmarked area three feet from the center of the basket.

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel is the final approval body for playing rules proposals from sport and rules committees. The panel of representatives from all three NCAA divisions convenes periodically to consider recommendations.

The three-foot restricted area was recommended by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Rules Committees in an attempt to limit the number of collisions near the basket on charge/block plays. The arc is also intended to provide some benefit to offensive players who have legally gained an advantage.

Last season, the men’s committee experimented with a restricted-area arc two feet from the center of the basket during multi-team events and exhibition games. The experiment extended the previous year’s rules change that made it illegal for a secondary defender to take a charge underneath the basket.

Some basketball stakeholders wanted visible markings to better define the area where a secondary defender can legally take a charge.

After seeing the arc painted on the court and reviewing data, the committee recommended a three-foot arc as being the suitable distance for the college game, where the lane is 12-feet wide.

Because the visible arc is not being applied in Divisions II and III until the 2012-13 season, though, officials in men’s games in those divisions will revert to the previous “directly underneath the basket” parameter and wait until the arc is actually on the floor the following year to start calling the rule three feet out.

The Women’s Basketball Rules Committee had not previously operated with a restricted area at all, so when that group began discussing an arc, it did so with the three-foot distance in mind from the start. As a result, the way women’s officials will deal with the delay in implementation of the arc for Divisions II and III games is different from their men’s officiating counterparts, since there was no rule to revert to as there was for the men. Thus, the women are moving to the three-foot distance immediately instead of teaching the rule one way this year and another way in subsequent seasons.

Women’s three-point line moved

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved moving the women’s three-point line in all three divisions back a foot to 20 feet, 9 inches for the 2011-12 season.

The Women’s Basketball Rules Committee made the recommendation after examining the distance of the shot for the last several years. Last season, the committee asked teams to track the number of three-point field goal attempts taken behind the 20-foot, 9-inch line and the current 19-foot, 9-inch line during exhibition games and 40-minute game-like scrimmages.

Data from 194 institutions (100 in Division I, 57 in Division II and 34 in Division III) showed that most of the attempts and makes came from behind the 20-foot, 9-inch line.

Of the shots tracked, teams were 1,046 of 3,203 (33 percent) from behind the 20-foot, 9-inch line. The data also revealed that teams were 546 for 1,823 (30 percent) between 19 feet, 9 inches and 20 feet, 9 inches.

Fouls language

The panel also approved a change in nomenclature on fouls that are deemed more severe than a “common” foul in both men’s and women’s basketball. The terms “Flagrant 1” and “Flagrant 2” will now be used. A Flagrant 1 foul takes the place of an intentional foul and the Flagrant 2 foul replaces the previous flagrant foul.

An example of a Flagrant 1 foul would be when a player swings an elbow and makes illegal, non-excessive contact with an opponent above the shoulders. The team whose player was struck would receive two free throws and possession of the ball. Previously, this type of foul was called an intentional foul. The committee wanted to move away from the word “intentional,” because a player’s intent was never the point to the rule.

An example of a Flagrant 2 foul would be when a player swings an elbow excessively and makes contact with an opponent above the shoulders. In this case, the player who threw the elbow would be ejected from the game, and the other team would receive two free throws and the ball.

Women’s experimental rule

Women’s basketball teams in all three divisions will test a 10-second half-court rule in closed scrimmages and exhibition games next season. The women’s rules committee wants teams to report the number of turnovers, fouls, points and other relevant data to determine the effect the rule has on play.

Proponents believe adding a 10-second count to cross half court would increase the tempo and strategy of the game with more teams extending their defense. Opponents believe it would add more stoppages, such as turnovers and fouls by teams that are trying to press full court.

There was some sentiment that if a 10-second back court rule is added to the women’s game, the shot clock should be increased to 35 seconds from the current 30. For purposes of the experimental rule, a 30-second shot clock will be used.

Other men’s and women’s basketball rules changes

  • The panel approved a change regarding coaches being able to request a monitor review of flagrant fouls. In the women’s game, a coach can request a review of the monitor to determine whether a Flagrant 1 foul for elbow contact or a Flagrant 2 foul occurred. In the men’s game, the change allows coaches to request a review for a potential Flagrant 2 foul that was not detected. If it is determined that no such foul occurred in a men’s or women’s game, the team requesting the monitor review will be charged a timeout. If no timeouts remain, the team is assessed a technical foul for taking too many timeouts.
  • Another approved change centers on the rare “double foul.” In scenarios where two fouls occur of differing penalties, both fouls will be enforced. For example, Player A reaches in and commits a common foul against Player B. Player B responds with an elbow that is considered a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 foul. If in the bonus, both players will shoot free throws with the lane cleared, with Team A shooting last and receiving the ball. Previously, this scenario was considered as offsetting fouls.
  • The panel approved a rules change intended to administer timeouts more efficiently. If a team does not return to the court after the first horn, officials will formally warn the team for delay of game. Any subsequent time that the team is late taking the court for play, the official will make the ball ready for play regardless of whether the team that has received a formal warning is ready. No technical fouls will be assessed in these situations.

Men’s volleyball

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel also approved a proposal for the newly created NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship (to begin in the spring of 2012) that will allow teams to use the 12-unlimited substitution rule. Division I men’s volleyball has a six-person substitution rule, but the 12-unlimited substitution rule fits into the Division III core value of participation.